It is no longer news that Nigeria has recorded the first case of coronavirus (click the link for more details). It is a big deal; we have been hearing about this disease in several countries around the world and finally, it has come.
The good thing is that we have had quite some time to prepare and we believe that appropriate health agencies are on top of the situation.
So, as a car user, what do you need to know?
You might think that it does not concern you; a very common mindset among Nigerians. But it actually does. Health issues are social issues and everyone should play their role in ensuring that the disease is contained as soon as possible.
I am very sure that some people have not even bothered to read anything about the Coronavirus, but I think it is a good time for everyone to get educated about this.
Understanding the novel Coronavirus (Covid-19)
1. The coronavirus is a large family of viruses that cause several illnesses. This family is responsible for diseases like the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV), the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and now the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) which was just recently identified in humans.
2. Some of the diseases caused by other viruses in this family are zoonotic, which means that they can be transmitted from animals to human beings. However, for now, what we know about the COVID-19 is that it can be transmitted through the following means:
- People who are in close contact with one another: People that are standing up to three feet within each other can most likely transit the disease to other people.
- Via the respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The droplets can land in the mouths or noses of other people and infect them.
Symptoms of coronavirus
3. According to the Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), people are most infective when they are already severely ill and show symptoms, although cases have been documented in which people who were not showing symptoms actually transmitted the disease
4. Different people react to the disease differently. Some people would have a mild episode and then recover fully, while others would come down with severe complications which might even lead to death.
5. The CDC also reports that it might be a possibility of getting the virus by touching surfaces that are infected. Although this is not the main way of transmission of the virus, it is very important to car users as we would see shortly:
How to protect yourself from coronavirus
What does this mean to you?
1. Well, anyone entering a car is definitely within 3 feet of you; therefore, you would want to be cautious about giving lifts to strangers at this time. It is not because you are a bad person, it's simply because you are trying to protect yourself. You might also want to stay home and seek medical help if you notice you are coughing and sneezing. You should not also give rides to any other person in case you are the one coughing and sneezing.
2. Wash those hands! Your hands are one of the most exposed parts of your body. Therefore, take no chances with this. Use alcohol-based hand rub or sanitizers or you wash them with soap and water. You know these things are not expensive to buy or do, so just do them.
Coronavirus can be spread from the infected's droplet so everyone needs to wear a facemask
3. You should also make efforts to clean your car this period too. Since it is possible that the virus might be transmitted via infected surfaces, then make efforts to clean your car as much as possible whenever you take it out. Pay special attention to places like your door handles, your seats, your dashboard, and the steering wheel. These places would usually have people touching them. Wash or clean those parts with alcohol-based cleaning agents.
Again, do not forget to wash your hands too!
4. Ok, what if you are in public transport? First thing, if you do not have to go out at this time, please stay in your house. However, if you must go out, you have to find your way around this:
- Well, you cannot do much about the car, but you can ensure that you sit by the window. It is a good tip, so that in case someone is coughing or sneezing in the bus, you have lesser chances of inhaling the droplets.
- And wos wos wobi. If you find out that someone is coughing or sneezing before you enter a bus, please find another bus. It is only people who are alive and healthy that go to work or do whatever it is that you are in a hurry to do! Of course, it is not everyone that coughs or sneezes that has COVID-19, but how would you know which is which? Especially since we have a confirmed case in Lagos.
WHO actually recommends that you leave at least 1 metre (3 feet) between anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
5. You can also go around with your facemasks or handkerchief to protect yourself from infected air droplets.
6. Also, if you are the one sneezing, coughing and having difficulty breathing, try to stay home and call for medical help early. I know I have to use a speaker for this. Many Nigerians delay when they start having symptoms until the issue gets out of hand. You have been told now, cough, sneezing, difficulty in breathing, report as soon as possible!
Please discard the thought that you would be castigated or stigmatized. That is not the point. Your life is important, so is the life of everyone around you and other Nigerians.
So, do yourself and everyone in the nation a favor by reporting early!
Video: Why is it recommended to avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough?
Avoid crowds and make sure to protect yourself and others with facemasks during this period if you have to go out
Use a tissue or handkerchief anytime you sneeze.
Share your travel history with your health provider so they can know how to help you.
If you do not have a tissue at the moment, sneeze or cough into your flexed elbow which would reduce the amount of droplets that are dispersed from you.
We also know that you are a fine boy/girl, but please avoid touching your face, nose, eyes, with unwashed hands this period.
Biko, corona does not respect fine face!
In conclusion, stay safe this period, Ebola o, Lassa o, Corona o, las las, we go dey alright!